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coins, medals, vases, &c., to illustrate various allusions; but the Publishers are anxious to keep the price of the work as moderate as they can, and the engravings have therefore been omitted.


March, 1853.




THE publishers of this edition of Horace thought that the original volume was large enough, and accordingly in revising it I have struck out from the notes as much as I have added. If the editor had corrected his own work under the same restrictions, he must have done the same. The additions in the notes are marked thus []. They are more numerous in the notes on the Satires and Epistles, than in the notes on the Odes.

Mr. Macleane had editions of Horace and also other books which I do not possess, and I have therefore not been able to verify all the references. But the number which I have not verified is very small compared with the whole number of references; and with the exceptions just mentioned I have verified all. Perhaps I ought to say that I intended to examine all; but as they are very numerous, it is probable, indeed it is certain, that I have overlooked some. However, they are not many. I have corrected without remark the errors which I observed in the notes, but there are still some which I have overlooked. The time which was allowed for the revision and the printing was not sufficient to enable me to do what I undertook with as much care as I would willingly have given to the work. Those who will compare the two editions will see what I have done.

Besides occasionally consulting the last edition of Orelli, I have used other books which are mentioned in the notes. I have read

Ritter's Commentary, and I have got good matter from it. Ritter is a sharp critic and a learned man, who has done something for the explanation of Horace, and I acknowledge my obligations to him. It is his business to excuse himself, if he can, for writing some absurd notes and proposing some interpretations which no sensible man will accept.

I have also used for the Satires and Epistles Krüger's school edition, with German notes. It is a very useful book. The notes prove that the editor has good judgment, and what we in this country call sound common sense, in which many learned editors are very deficient.

I have not touched Mr. Macleane's arguments and introductions, except in very few cases; nor have I added any thing on the chronology of the poems, except a little here and there. Mr. Macleane has done this very well. He judiciously abstained from fixing dates where there is no evidence, unlike many critics who have sometimes fixed them without evidence and sometimes contrary to evidence. Indeed, most commentators have very imperfect conceptions of the nature of proof; and it would be a great improvement if they could be taught in some way not to confound hypotheses and guesses with probable conclusions and demonstration.

I shall here put a question which some people may think unnecessary; but I do not think so. When a man has been used to read a book at intervals for half a century, he may reasonably ask himself whether he has been wasting his time, and whether other persons may not do the same. There are only few books worth reading often or much; but Horace is one of them. He lived with some of the chief men of an age when the Roman polity was changing into a form which has had a lasting influence on Europe, and through Europe on the rest of the world; and his writings have made us familiar with the man himself, with the times in which he lived, the character of his contemporaries, and the manners of the day. Horace's good sense makes his Satires and Epistles almost as intelligible and as instructive as if they were written now; for the best part of them is independent of the allusions to things and persons, and many of the allusions are not more obscure than similar

allusions in modern writings become after a few years.

Horace did a good deal to improve the Latin language, and he took the liberty, which he defends, of saying many things in a new way. His poetical power was great and varied; and if he had possessed more energy of character, he might have done even more than he has. But what he has left is a proof of his talent. He gave the Romans, as far as their language would permit, a set of lyrical compositions both in matter and form not unworthy copies or imitations of the Greek; and though such imitation is a confession of inferiority and sometimes is feeble and trifling, he still shows that he could infuse the vigour of the Latin tongue into the measures of Sappho and Alcaeus, and present to us a variety of natural and pleasing images in language simple, concise, and expressive. A last careful reading of Horace's lyric poems, after a long acquaintance with them, has made me estimate them higher than I did, and even when he is less successful, I feel more indulgence towards the poet for daring so much and doing it so well.

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Mr. Macleane has made some judicious remarks on Horace in his Introduction; and a recent writer in "Blackwood's Magazine (No. DCXXX.), "On the Causes of Horace's Popularity," has written an instructive and agreeable essay.

But how do we know that we have what Horace wrote? A work which has come down to us from a very remote time by successive transcriptions must contain many errors. Even books when they have been often reprinted differ very much from the original. The general consent of the manuscripts of Horace is the only evidence of what he wrote; and it is a wonder that the diversities in the text are not more than they are. But these diversities are sufficient to prove that in many passages we cannot discover the true readings, and we never shall. It is the business of the critic to use the documentary evidence of the manuscripts, and to attempt to derive from the various readings some probable conclusion. This branch of the critical art requires great labour, judgment, and taste, and we are much indebted to scholars for what they have done towards establishing the text of Horace and other ancient writers. I have had neither time nor inclination to do any thing for Horace in this


I do not feel that I have any peculiar aptitude for this kind of work, and the same may be said of many who have undertaken it. I have, however, noticed nearly all the variations in Ritter's text, and I think that some of them are improvements. I have noticed also some of Keller's readings in the Odes, but I have found very little in them that seems to me of any value.

When the manuscripts agree, and there is nothing unintelligible, it is consistent with the evidence to let a passage stand as it is, and it is inconsistent to attempt to improve it. When there is diversity of readings in any case, we must determine which we will accept on a balance of probabilities. If no reading gives a sufficient sense, we may endeavour to extract from the supposed false readings something which does give a sense and may be what the copiers would have written if they had taken due care. Many excellent corrections have been made in this way, and they commend themselves to our judgment as true, that is, as possessing sufficient probability to be accepted as true.

There is another method which we may use in deciding between conflicting readings, and also in determining whether a passage, where there is no variation in the readings, may be considered genuine. In the case of Horace, for example, if we study the general purpose of each poem, if we have made ourselves well acquainted with his manner of expression and his poetic colouring, and if we fix our attention closely on all the words of a given passage, and the connexion of the whole passage with that which precedes and follows, we may often determine with great probability what he intended to write, where the evidence leaves it doubtful; and we may also determine whether critics are justified in putting their own guesses in place of the documentary evidence, when there is no variation in it. The power of justly interpreting is therefore a necessary qualification for a critic who undertakes to settle a text whether ancient or modern; as necessary as it is for the commentator who undertakes to explain his author. There are indeed in Horace many passages, where the text may be quite right, and yet the interpretation is doubtful. I have found more of these passages than I expected, and some about which editors will always differ.

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